Trump’s Latest Crackdown on Cuba Travel Reaches Out to Airlines
The Trump administration is banning U.S. flights to all Cuban cities except Havana in the latest move to roll back the Obama-era easing of relations, officials said Friday.
Opponents said prohibiting flights would simply make it harder for Cuban-Americans to visit their families outside the capital, without making a significant impact on the Cuban government.
The State Department said JetBlue flights to Santa Clara in central Cuba and the eastern cities of Holguin, Camaguey would be banned starting in December. American Airlines flights to Camaguey, Holguin and Santa Clara, the beach resort of Varadero and the eastern city of Santiago are also being banned.
Flights to Havana, which account for the great majority of U.S. flights to Cuba, will remain legal.
Another stated reason for the move is to prevent tourism to Cuba, which is barred by U.S. law. But it is not clear how many people take the banned flights for tourism purposes. Many are used by Cuban-Americans visiting relatives in cities far from Havana by road.
“This is another counterproductive measure taken by the Trump administration as part of a completely failed approach towards Cuba. Travel between the US and Cuba benefits Cuban families, Cuban entrepreneurs and many US companies and these measures will greatly harm a lot of people,” Collin Laverty, president of Cuba Educational Travel, said.
“Ending flights to cities that are mostly frequented by Cubans traveling to see loved ones is another blow to Cuban families on both sides of the Florida straits.”